Terlipressin therapy for reversal of type 1 hepatorenal syndrome: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 May;25(5):880-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2009.06132.x. Epub 2010 Jan 14.


Background and aim: Hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) is a serious complication of advanced liver disease and carries a poor prognosis. Recent trials have indicated that terlipressin may be effective in reversing HRS. Our aim was to evaluate the efficacy of terlipressin therapy in reversing type 1 HRS defined as a serum creatinine <1.5 mg/dL during treatment.

Methods: Randomized controlled trials in which patients with type 1 HRS received at least 3 days of terlipressin therapy and albumin in the intervention arm were included after a systematic search of the published English reports. Studies with other vasoconstrictor therapies in the control group were excluded.

Results: A total of 223 patients with HRS type 1 in four different trials, were included in the final analysis. Alcohol-related cirrhosis was the most common underlying etiology. The risk ratio for reversal in type 1 HRS with terlipressin therapy was 3.66 (95% confidence interval 2.15-6.23). Recurrence of HRS was low (8%). Serious side-effects requiring discontinuation of therapy were seen only in 6.8% of patients on terlipressin therapy. There was a trend towards improved transplant-free survival at 90 days in the terlipressin group (relative risk 1.86 95% confidence interval 1.0-3.4, P = 0.05).

Conclusions: Terlipressin is effective in reversing HRS type 1. Recurrence of HRS is rare with at least 14 days of therapy. Serious side-effects requiring discontinuation of therapy are less common. There appears to be a survival benefit in patients with HRS treated with terlipressin.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Female
  • Hepatorenal Syndrome / blood
  • Hepatorenal Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Hepatorenal Syndrome / etiology
  • Hepatorenal Syndrome / mortality
  • Humans
  • Lypressin / adverse effects
  • Lypressin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Lypressin / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Terlipressin
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / adverse effects
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Biomarkers
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents
  • Lypressin
  • Terlipressin
  • Creatinine